BlackBerry's UK messenger service to be stopped?

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Washington, Sept 17: Smartphone giant BlackBerry said that they would discuss with mobile operators to stop its messenger service, if they were ordered by authorities concerned to do so during civil unrest. Since, UK police clearly pointed out that messenger service had been used extensively by looters and rioters as a key tool to rouse and coordinate violence in the recent London riots.

 Appearing before politicians investigating the massive unrest that happened in early August, executive Stephen Bates of BlackBerry-owner Research in Motion said the company would go with orders given in special situations like threats of terrorism or mass criminality.

"From our perspective we comply with the law and if the instruction ... would be to close down the mobile networks which is the method by which that would be enacted, we would then comply, we would then work with those mobile operators to help them meet the obligations as defined by that act," Bates said.

BlackBerry Messenger Service (BBM) has always been preferred on social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook as its messages are put into a secret code.

British Prime Minister David Cameron said Britain could consider disrupting online social networking during civil unrest , a move which is widely condemned as repressive when used by other countries.

Bates said the company had a great belief that communications and social network were a tool for good and it didn't see it "being a good way forward" to switch off social networks during the time of civil unrest.

Alexander Macgillivray, making public policy at Twitter said that committee would be an "absolutely horrible idea", quoted police as saying they used it for good during times of crisis. Echoing the same, Richard Allan, director of policy in Europe at Facebook, said social media helped kith and kins to know they were safe.

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